Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Old man down!

One of my favorite "God things" is when He puts together a "theme."  To the carnal mind, it's just a string of small "coincidences"; but those who know Him recognize His secret signature, and His subtle way of bringing us to ideas or conclusions.

I’ve been asked to address a small group of highschool students during a brief devotional.  Their "theme" is "How to keep the 'old man' in his place"--death to self (see last week's blog).

Were I superstitious, I might think it is I who needs to hear this.  Can't be.  I am the humble vessel being used to transmit this to others.  (Like you, you stumbler with the mote in your eye!)

Years ago I found a "study Bible" with a "cyclopedic index.”  Early in my education I discovered the insights available by studying tables of contents and appendices.  You can quickly ascertain much about an unfamiliar book that way.

Turning to "self" in the index, I found an array of verses under several self-related sections:
"Self abasement."  (Uh-oh.) "Self condemnation."  (Boo!) "Self control."  (Ow!)  "Self deception."  (Not me!)  "Self denial."  (Again, ouch.)  "Self exaltation."  (Wait...I need a "selfie" of me reading this.)  "Self examination."  (Did that in the shower just this morning.)  "Selfishness."  (Hey, I'm sharing right now.)  "Self righteousness."  (What's that smell?  Yeast?)  And, last, but never least, "Self will."  (Implying, I think, there is another kind.)
Each listing, with subtopics, is followed by scripture addresses, plenty of them.  It's one of the most addressed subjects in the Bible, and the list itself is a complete study for any relatively mature believer.

How does one get this concept across to a young person still waiting for their "own" life to begin?  This is particularly problematic in the din of the world's drum beat of "self esteem."  Most young folks have no idea how conformed to the image of this world they are, nor have their "church-going" parents.

Bible-reading believers are immediately reminded of the verse, "Let each esteem the others more highly than himself."  This is cultural anathema.  How am I supposed to "look out for number one"?  It lies in deciding Who really is number one, of course; but, that's where all those unpleasant character chores begin.

“I must decrease so that He might increase.”
“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Check this out:

I love these kids!